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Local-option taxes identified as best way to fund transit

A subcommittee of Gov. Butch Otter’s transportation funding task force on public transportation has come back to the full panel with recommendations for allowing local-option taxes, including local sales taxes, an expanded resort tax for larger cities or counties, property tax options and impact fees. “The committee didn’t feel there’s dollars available to have some kind of a state-sponsored funding program,” David Bennion, subcommittee chairman, told the full panel. State Sen. Shawn Keough, who served on the subcommittee, said the group decided “our job is to provide a toolbox full of tools and then let the people in that area decide what works for them … through the ballot box.” Lt. Gov. Brad Little praised the subcommittee’s work, saying if the state is going to look at transportation needs for the next 20 years, that look has to include public transportation. The full task force voted unanimously to accept the subcommittee’s report “for consideration at a later time.”